Clinton stop came as surprise for Park Ridge mayor

  • Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton Associated Press Photo

Posted5/19/2016 5:12 AM

Park Ridge Mayor Marty Maloney tells me he only learned about Hillary Clinton's planned fundraiser in her hometown as he was tucking into a plate of chicken and waffles at The Pick Restaurant about a week back.

The Pick, a former diner recently revamped into an upscale American comfort food spot, was the location of Clinton's last official Park Ridge visit in 2003. So it wasn't completely out of left field for Clinton advance planners to walk through the restaurant's door earlier this month and ask owner Tim Griffin if they could scope out the place for an event.


City officials were only briefed through recent "just so you know" calls about the event at The Pick and the adjacent Pickwick Theatre.

"Really our only involvement is with security," Maloney says. He'll be at the fundraiser, and his mom might be, too. A longtime Park Ridge resident and Clinton backer, she joked, "what good is it having a son who's mayor" if he can't get her a face-to-face with the former first lady, secretary of state and Maine South High School grad?

Clinton's the first presidential candidate to return to the area since the March 15 Illinois primary.

'Hillary burger'

The Pick restaurant in downtown Park Ridge is the site of a Hillary Clinton fundraiser.
  The Pick restaurant in downtown Park Ridge is the site of a Hillary Clinton fundraiser. - Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

The former Pickwick diner famously had a Hillary burger -- complete with green olives -- that legend has it was the favorite order of the teenage Clinton. But the menu was overhauled by Griffin when he revamped the restaurant last year. For now, Griffin isn't saying if he's digging up the old recipe, citing fears of irritating the Secret Service by "blabbing his mouth."

The Clinton campaign has kept details of the event, which costs up to $2,700 a ticket, as mum as possible. But sources say the highest priced tickets include a meal with Hillary. The restaurant is expected to be filled to its 150-patron capacity.

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Live today

I'll be covering the Clinton fundraiser today, so get live updates via Twitter by following @KerryLester.

Technical difficulties

A May 5 letter by College of DuPage trustee Diane McGuire to the Higher Learning Commission says she asked college administrators for invoices from the three law firms representing COD and got them in the form of "a huge password-protected digital file."

"I have attempted numerous times to view these documents," she writes in the letter. "There are error messages, password problems, difficulty turning the pages on the screen ... I finally gave up and just requested the total dollars spent."

How much?

College of DuPage Trustee Dianne McGuire
  College of DuPage Trustee Dianne McGuire - Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

McGuire also suggests in her letter to the accrediting agency that legal expenses and consultant fees related to the firing of former COD President Robert Breuder and two financial administrators who are suing the school are "very close to $5 million. Next year's budget will be $11 million short on revenue to meet expenses, something we never saw in the past," she writes. We last reported a cost of $3.9 million on lawyers and consultants in late March. College of DuPage attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for an update on the legal tab.


'Vote of confidence'

A leader in an Arlington Heights-based group of Catholic nuns says she's invigorated by Pope Francis' recent comments that he's willing to create a commission to study whether women can serve as deacons in the Catholic Church.

The move follows years of a strained relationship between U.S. nuns and Francis' predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who concluded the nuns were undermining church teaching and promoting "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith." Francis last year extended an olive branch, thanking and praising nuns.

"This is another vote of confidence," said Sister Kristine Vorenkamp of the Sisters of the Living Word.

He makes it!

Ben Kanute of Geneva made the 2016 U.S. Triathlon team.
  Ben Kanute of Geneva made the 2016 U.S. Triathlon team. - Rick West | Staff Photographer

"Shocked" and "super stoked" is how Geneva native Ben Kanute puts the news that he qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team and will be one of three men representing the nation in the 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run in August at the Rio de Janeiro games. The Olympic spot is the culmination of Kanute's 15 years of training for the sport. But he's also got a markedly low-key, normal side, with a tradition of watching "bad made-for-TV movies" to help lull him to sleep the night before a competition.

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